(a very short short story)
by Angus Brownfield
Angus Brownfield on Shakespir
Copyright © 2015 by Angus Brownfield
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On the grounds of the estate there grew a grove of very old, very large Italian stone pines. Unlike other members of the pine family, the stone pine sends out monumental limbs from its main trunk, so that they look like gigantic, graceful candelabra. One tree in the grove, however, had found itself crowded by its massive neighbors and in order to compete for light, had grown out at a forty-five degree angle before turning towards the sun.
This leaning tree was the favorite roost of a crow who had been around, it seemed, forever. It was also a favorite stop for a poodle whose human kept him beautifully groomed. None of that sissified French look, Poodle was trimmed as a working dog, his fur cut just the right length to keep him warm but short enough not to get snagged when he was in the field, retrieving pheasants or grouse.
Poodle came along, did his thing at the base of the tree, and looked up to see Crow settling down for a midday nap.
“Hey, Crow,” Poodle called out. “Come on down; I’ve got something to ask you.”
“Ix-nay,” said Crow. “You’re a smart dog, but I’m the smartest of birds, and I wouldn’t fall for that line if you promised me a big fat road kill in return.”
And with that Crow fluffed his feathers once, closed his eyes, and fell fast asleep. Moments later he felt firm pressure in the middle of his back. He suddenly realized Poodle was looming over him, a forepaw pinning him to the broad trunk of the stone pine. Poodle seemed to be grinning.
“This is what I wanted to ask you, Crow, before you so rudely blew me off. ‘Did you know that poodles are the only dogs that can climb trees?’”
A poodles teaches a crow about good manners.